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The little book with BIG resources!

Enter To Win 4 Passes to The 60th Annual Progressive Insurance Boat & Sportshow!

Good Evening, Everyone!

I am so excited to share an exciting event that’s taking place THIS weekend  in Kansas City! The 60th Annual Progressive Insurance Kansas City Boat & Sportshow, which features an array of fun family friendly activities and shows, is taking place at Bartle Hall this Saturday (January 25th). I am so excited to be attending this year’s event and even more excited that iFamilyKC is giving away a family four pack of passes to one lucky reader! Take a look at the fun we’ll be enjoying at this event:

  • Gypsy Rose III Landship – Young guests can board the Gypsy Rose III Landship with Captain Tim and transform into pirates, explore the ship and participate in sword fights with other young mateys.
  • Boating and Outdoor Classroom – Guests will learn the latest in fishing and hunting techniques from local experts in an extensive seminar lineup.
  • Dock Dogs – Families will enjoy watching this high flying dog competition to find out which dog can jump the highest and furthest into a giant pool of water.
  • Fred’s Shed – Boat owners can attend educational seminars about maintaining, repairing and upgrading their boats. Each seminar will cover a variety of topics and demonstrations, along with question and answer sessions for the experts.
  • SEA LIFE Kansas City Aquarium – Young guests will enjoy viewing starfish, crabs and other sea creatures in SEA LIFE Kansas City Aquarium’s Ocean in Motion Touch Tank and Artifacts Cart. Kids will also enjoy SEA LIFE Academy, a seminar where kids can dissect a squid and learn what makes these creatures a great escape artist and a formidable deep sea hunter.
  • Willow Creek Trout Pond – Young guests will have lots of fun as they cast for live fish in the catch-and-release Willow Creek Trout Pond.
  • Texas Bass Tank – This 12-ft. tall, 40-ft long, 5,000 gallon aquarium is stocked with native fish so guests can enjoy a rare underwater view of professional fishing and casting demonstrations.

Want to get in on the action?! Enter to win by simply leaving us a comment (below) telling us what you would enjoy most at the show! We will randomly draw a winner on Friday morning at 10:00am and announce it on the iFamilyKC Facebook page! Good luck and may the odds be ever in your favor!


“The Nut Job” Movie: In Review!

“The Nut Job”

Release Date: Friday January 17th, 2014

Run Time: 86 Minutes

MPAA Rating: Rated PG for mild action and rude humor

Cast: Will Arnett, Brendan Fraser, Liam Neeson

Sometimes an idea that is clever in theory is not so clever in execution. This is one of those times. “The Nut Job” follows the adventure of Sully (voiced by Will Arnett), a mischievous squirrel who has been banished from the his park.  Sully, with the help of his friend, Buddy, and with the eventual help of love interest Randie (Katherine Heigl) and arrogant dummy (Brendan Frasier) attempt the job of a lifetime as they try to steal the nuts from a local nut store.

A furry critter version of Ocean’s 11 sounds like a lot of fun, but the end result did not live up to the promising premise. There was very little wit, and not a ton of action.  What it did have was flatulence jokes, and plenty of them. There were also puns along the lines of, “you’re nuts!”. Well done, writers.

Despite its many flaws, the movie is not without its charms. Maya Rudolph, as the voice the ineffective guard dog Precious, delivers some genuine chuckles. The movie also shows the importance of working together and caring about more than just yourself.

Since Pixar came along (and with some of the more recent Disney animated pictures like Wreck it Ralph and Frozen) parents of small children have been spoiled by animated movies that are able to capture the hearts and tickle the funny bones of kids and adults alike. When “Toy Story” happened, I imagine parents must have considered it a pleasant surprise to bring their kid to a movie and understand some jokes that their kids might have missed. Now, it’s become an expectation for animated movies to have universal appeal and I’m not sure that is fair. Obviously, it is preferable (and profitable) to make a movie that appeals to everyone, but is also ok to make a kids movie that is mostly for kids. Grownups, this movie is not made for you. You may grown at the 4th “nut” pun and all the slapstick but your kid (providing he or she is between 5 and 10 years old) probably loves it, and that is what really matters.

On my scale of 1 to 10 with 1 being the worst, 5 being the best and 10 being the worst again, I give “The Nut Job” a 2.25 with an emoticon based sub ranking of: “Oh, Nuts!”

Connect with Holli Ann on Facebook and on Twitter. Questions about this review?! Email Holli anytime at Holli@iFamilyKC.com

Valentine’s Day Books

The typical gift for Valentine’s Day is something cuddly or chocolate. How about changing it up a little bit this year. There are some great books that you can read with your little Valentine to make the day extra special. There is no better gift then that quality time with you. Here are a few at the top of my list:



Valentine’s Day Books
Submitted by Mom Squad Blogger
Keri Nichol


Best of Book Night: January

Book night is a new idea for the New Year! Simply skip television one evening and replace it with a “read aloud” book night for a fun family time.

I recommend checking out all of these books and having each family member read one or two aloud.  The great illustrations and funny humor will make for enjoyable family entertainment and great bonding time.

Attention babysitters, these easy to read and colorful books would be fun to check out and take with you to that next babysitting job!  Great for any age and the parents will love you!

“The Three Little Pigs”

different versions of:

These five stories I have chosen are hilarious takes on the classic Three Little Pigs.  They will have the middle school student laughing out loud as well as the kindergartener!

For the technology fans, I have added a couple links at the end of the story list for free “Three Little Pig” apps.  These are great apps for even the preschooler.  Have the older sibling read and record the classic version using the zoodles app below!

The True Story of the 3 Little Pigs

The True Story of the Three Little Pigs: by Jon Scieszka, illustrated by Lane Smith.  This is a story told by Alexander T. Wolf himself and he insist that the pigs were causing all the trouble and that he was framed!

The Three Little Pigs New Edition

Funny take on the Classic!

The Fourth Little Pig

The Fourth Little Pig by Teresa Celsi (1992) this is a great follow up to the classic story!  So the well-traveled fourth sister shows up to help her three traumatized brothers get out into the world and not be afraid of that wolf.

Three Little Wolves and the Big Bad Pig

The Three Little Wolves and the Big Bad Pig By Eugene Trivizas, great twist on the classic.  The wolves’ work very hard, the pig is meaner than the wolf ever was and the ending has an unexpected and funny surprise!

The Three Little Javelinas

The Three Little Javelinas by Susan Lowell, is the southwest version of the three little pigs, but a clever coyote is after these siblings.

Free “apps” links below:




By Shari Jacobs, iFamilyKC Mom Squad


My kiddos are constantly wanting to make their own lunch. I found the following idea and it was an instant HIT. It is a NO Bake… and very little mess recipe that the kids can do all by themselves. Although it’s pretty self-explanatory, the supplies needed for Banana Hotdogs are:

Hot dog bun

Peanut Butter



Spread the peanut butter on the inside of bun. Peel and insert banana like a hotdog and then line with jelly. ENJOY ….great source of protein, whole grain ( with a whole grain bun) AND an extra fruit serving.  For a twist…try to replace the jelly with some chocolate syrup…..yummy!

Banana Hotdogs for Kid Cooks

Keri Nichol- Mom Squad Blogger

Complements of The Domestic Momma and Village Cook at http://thevillagecook.com/banana-dogs/.

Five Reasons to Send Your Child to Summer Camp

Submitted by
Dawn Cox, Guest Blogger

1 – Identity and individuality

At summer camp, your kiddo will not be “brother of” or “son of”, he’s going to be a camper.  He gets to make his own choices, from how much to eat all the way down to which activities he wants to participate in.  Summer camp is a great and safe environment for kids to start spreading those proverbial wings.


2 – New experiences

At Cub Creek Science Camp, campers get to interact with animals at our private zoo.  They can adopt an animal of their choosing for their stay and learn how to properly feed and take care of “their” animal.  Cub Creek has domestic and exotic animals and is licensed by the USDA.  A camper could adopt a sloth, a fox, a camel, a lemur, or yes, even a dog!


3 – Meeting new people

Campers come from all walks of life and all geographical locations.  Here at Cub Creek, we get international campers AND counselors.  It’s so much fun to hear the campers talking about the cultural differences.  We love knowing those kids will become pen-pals and likely remain friends for a long time.  Without the social expectations of school, campers are free to laugh and make friends easily.


4 – Unplug from technology

Technology is such an important part of our lives.  But it’s so important for our children to learn how to unplug and rediscover their own creativity and imagination.  Camp allows campers to engage with each other and their own emotions without the crutch of technology.


5 –   Learning valuable social skills

Coming to camp means campers have to learn not just sharing but cooperation and respect.  Kids have to share chores and compromise when they live in a cabin with each other.  Nothing says cooperation and compromise faster when having to share a bathroom with 8 other girls!


You can check out Cub Creek Science Camp at mosciencecamp.com.  We’re also on Facebook under “Cub Creek Science Camp”.


Breakfast Sushi

This is a little twist on breakfast to keep things fun and interesting with the kiddos. Peel the banana and completely cover with a thick coat of peanut butter. Then roll in rice krispies. Then you can cut it into sushi size rolls. Breakfast Sushi! Enjoy.

I love recipes like this because these are easy and safe enough that the kids can even do it themselves.

Complements of Mashable.com

Submitted by:

Keri Nichol, Mom Squad Blogger

Saving Mr. Banks Movie Review

Saving Mr. Banks Release Date: Friday December 20, 2013

Run Time: 125 Minutes

MPAA Rating: Rated PG-13 for thematic elements including some unsettling images.

Cast: Emma Thompson, Tom Hanks, Colin Farrell, Paul Giamatti

As a longtime fan of Disney’s “Mary Poppins”, I was very excited to see “Saving Mr. Banks” and learn more about how the tale of everyone’s favorite singing nanny came to life on the big screen.  “Saving Mr. Banks” details the acquisition of the “Mary Poppins” story by Walt Disney from the author P.L. Travers.  It is an entertaining, sweet, well acted, and heart-warming story. Of course, as “Mary Poppins” was a simplified and somewhat cartoony version of Travers’ original work, so is the story of “Saving Mr. Banks”. I often wonder how much truth there is to movies that are inspired by actual events and so, after seeing “Saving Mr. Banks”, I decided to find out. I was disappointed to learn that it is far from an accurate depiction of the events it covers.

“Saving Mr. Banks” wins you over with its performances. Tom Hanks portrays Walt Disney as a down to earth, energetic, amiable people pleaser.  Hanks as Walt Disney really wanted you to like him, and you did.  Conversely, I liked Emma Thompson as P.L. Traver’s because her character didn’t care if you liked her.  Thompson does surly well and she was in fine form.

The movie also does a good job of exploring the meaning and motivation behind “Mary Poppins” as she existed in Travers’ original work.  It was clearly a very personal book, and one understands why she was so hesitant to relinquish control over it.  After seeing this movie, I plan to read “Mary Poppins” and re-watch the Disney movie.

It is ironic that this film about the Disneyfication of her treasured work has been so Disneyfied itself.  This is a sweet film about a not so sweet story. In real life, Travers held onto decades of resentment for how she perceived she was treated during the making and subsequent release of “Mary Poppins”.  She steadfastly refused to collaborate on any future Mary Poppins projects.  Even though “Saving Mr. Banks” is undeniably entertaining, it has to be noted that P.L. Travers would have hated this movie as much as she hated Disney’s “Mary Poppins”. I enjoyed it, but it all seems a little too disingenuous when put in context of the real life story.

On a scale of 1 to 10 with 1 being the worst, 5 being the best and 10 being the worst again, I give “Saving Mr. Banks” a 3.25 with an emoticon based sub ranking of: Conflicted

Connect with Holli Ann anytime by visiting It’s An Ordinary Blog. You can stay up to date with all of Holli’s posts on Facebook and Twitter.

Legoland Noon Year’s Eve Celebration!

What a FUN way for the whole family to celebrate bringing in 2014!  The New Year’s Eve celebration starts early at LEGOLAND Discovery Center Kansas City with a party that lets kids ring in 2014 without staying up until midnight. The Noon Year’s Eve celebration begins at noon on December 31, where kids can count down to 2014 with a LEGO balloon drop.

Guests will meet in the LEGO Café to begin the countdown festivities at 11:45 a.m. Kids will be provided with hats and horns to help ring in the New Year while enjoying sparkling juice. Kids will receive a New Year’s gift and will have the opportunity to participate in a raffle for a chance to win LEGO sets. All items are available while supplies last.

In addition, all Annual Pass holders are invited to bring a friend for $10 plus tax on December 31.

“Noon Year’s Eve will be a fun party for kids to ring in 2014,” says Jeremiah Boehr, Master Model Builder of LEGOLAND Discovery Center Kansas City.

It is encouraged that guests purchase their tickets online in advance at http://www.legolanddiscoverycenter.com/kansascity/.Guests who purchase their tickets in advance will receive a discount and priority entry into the attraction.

About LEGOLAND Discovery Center Kansas City

LEGOLAND Discovery Center Kansas City opened in Crown Center on April 29th, 2012. This is the fourth LEGOLAND Discovery Center in the United States. Described as stepping into the biggest box of LEGO bricks in the world, the $15 million, 30,000-square-foot interactive attraction features hands-on play areas, a 4D Cinema, master classes from the LEGO® Master Model Builder, LEGO-themed rides, and special party rooms for birthdays and other celebrations. This highly interactive and educational 2-3 hour indoor experience is ideal for families with children. 

Easy, Healthy, No Bake, Yummy, Festive and Fun Christmas ideas!

Cheese stick Snowmen Anyone!

Snowman String Cheese

You don’t have to be an artist for these snowmen to turn out perfect!  What a great winter treat that can easily be made ahead time for any classroom snack or lunchbox!    http://www.nobiggie.net/string-cheese-snowmen/


Mozzarella String Cheese


Orange and Black Sharpie Marker

Ribbon for scarf

Black Card Stock

Hot glue gun


Simply dot eyes, nose, mouth and buttons with marker. Tie a scarf around neck and glue on hat!

Grinch Fruit Kabobs!

Grinch Fruit Kabobs

These are not only adorable and easy but super healthy as well.  The kids can help put these fruit kabobs together and they will look perfect!


Green grapes

Banana’s sliced and tossed in lemon juice

Strawberry with tip and hull sliced off

Mini Marshmallow



Thread the toothpick with the grape at the bottom, a banana slice, strawberry and mini marshmallow on top.  Too cute and too easy!

 Cheese and Grape Tomato Christmas Tree!Cheese and Tomato Christmas Tree

Make your next cheese platter festive and fun for the holidays! Simply alternate ingredients in the form of a triangle shape for a beautiful and tasty Christmas tree display!

This is a yummy idea for any Christmas gathering this year or any year!  Another idea would be to substitute the tomatoes for grapes and make it a cheese and fruit platter!  Picture courtesy of http://www.cabotcheese.coop/index.php


Varieties of cheese cubes or a all of a favorite!!

Grape Tomato

One mushroom on top

Rosemary or Thyme sprigs


Make a triangular Christmas tree shape on a serving platter and then alternate rows of cheese and grape tomatoes adding a line of green sprigs after each.  Begin and end with the cheese cubes.  Adorable and artistic and anyone can do it!


Fun Christmas Ideas Submitted by Shari Jacobs